Winning by Mistake


I was training with my teacher Peter Crocoll this weekend and I made a critical error that led to an injury to my eye. Peter was teaching sojutsu, and the worst possible thing happened. I blocked a seven foot spear with my eye.

This injury could be devastating. Yet I am fine. It could have been embarrassing, yet was not. Instead, my taijutsu protected me and I came out with some wonderful knowledge. I won.

Soke says to always be winning. He references Daruma who fell down seven times but got up eight. In other words, don't fall down- fall up.

I was supposed to use my hips to redirect the spear with my weapon. Instead I used my hands alone and the thrusting Yari was directed right at my eye. What saved me was my experience with taijutsu. I FELT what was happening and was able to ride the strike so that it glanced off my eyelid. The injury I received was a swollen bruise. Oddly the yari didn't even make contact with bone or my eyeball. How does a seven foot spear thrust into your eye and just miss? Thanks bujin.

So often we strive to be perfect and be mistake free. But maybe the illusion of perfection is the mistake. My mistake was very important for my training. I'll happily accept the bruise.

This goes for teaching as well. I heard Hatsumi Sensei say that teachers shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes or look foolish in front of their students. This idea really frees up teaching and makes it more honest.

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